Sitting square in between September and November, October is the tenth month of the Gregorian calendar.
October is seen by many to be a time of real seasonal change, both in the northern and southern hemispheres.
For those in the north, autumn is really kicking into gear and the nights are getting cooler.
The harvest festivals are over, and the nights are getting longer and longer by the day.
October is also a time to start stocking up on firewood for the long winter season to ensure you’re kept warm all the way through until spring.
October is unsurprisingly quite different for those who live in the southern hemisphere.
Spring has already bloomed in all its glory, and life is becoming more and more pleasant by the day.
Cooler nights can still be found but overall, it’s a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun.
Like every other month of the year, October has plenty to show for itself.
Let’s take a look at the origins of October, the traditions we celebrate during it, as well as some interesting little facts to bring it all together!
The meaning behind October’s name is far from accurate these days. The ancient Roman calendar was based on the lunar cycles, as opposed to our current calendar which is based on the solar cycles. This meant that there were originally 10 months in their calendar, and October was the eighth month. Its name literally translated into “the eighth month” in Latin. In 451 BC the two months of Ianurarius and Februarius were added to the beginning of the calendar, making October the 10th month.
There are seven months in the year with 31 days and October is the sixth of them. The amount of days hasn’t changed over the ages either, with the ancient Roman calendar also placing 31 days in October.
The Anglo-Saxons name for October was Winterfylleth, with its name containing the words for winter and full moon respectively. It was named this because winter was said to begin from the first full moon of the month.
The Saxons had a name for October, too. Theirs was Wyn Monath, which translated into “wine month” because it was the time of the year for making wine. I’m not sure about you, but I think October just became my favorite month!
October is a rather beautiful time of year if you live in the northern hemisphere. It’s the time of year that the color of leaves begins to change into a magnificent array of hues.
The Twyford church in Hampshire, UK has a tradition of ringing their bells every year on the 7th of October. The origin of this tradition goes back to the 18th century when a local resident called William David became lost in heavy fog while riding home at night. Much to his luck he heard the church bells toll and from this he managed to find his way home. As a form of thanks, he left some money to the church when he died so that the church could continue to ring their bells on the 7th of October every year, just in case there were any other lost travelers.
The first full moon after the Harvest Moon quite often falls in October and even has its own name. Known as the Hunter’s Moon, it’s one of the only two full moons (along with the Harvest Moon) that aren’t connected to a specific month. Depending on the year the Hunter’s Moon either falls in October or November.
The world-famous Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi was born on the 2nd of October 1869. His worldwide renown is attributed to the nonviolent way in which he resisted the colonial British rule of India.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you’ll be rewarded for keeping your eyes to the skies in October, as the Draconid Meteor Shower can be seen. It contains a single comet that is visible exclusively in the northern hemisphere between the 6th and 10th of October.
An even more impressive meteor shower which is visible in both hemispheres is the Orionid meteor shower, which runs from the 2nd of October until early November. It is named after Orion as it is usually visible in the same part of the sky as the constellation. At the peak of the meteor shower as many as 20 meteors are visible every hour.
On the 1st of October 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded. Mao Zedong ruled the republic from its founding until his death in 1976.
The beer-swilling Bavarian festival Oktoberfest takes place every year in Munich, Germany. The festival usually runs for 16 days from mid-September until the Sunday of the first weekend in October. The event has been held since 1810 when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria held a festival to celebrate his marriage with Therese, the princess of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
October has just one birthstone, but with this dazzling stone who needs another? October’s birthstone is the Opal, which was valued by the ancient Romans as the most priceless of all. The opal comes in a myriad of striking colors that often seem to swirl together and is a symbol of both faithfulness, purity, and hope.
It wouldn’t be October without Halloween, which is celebrated on the 31st of October. The celebration’s origins go all the way back to the Gaelic people of modern-day England, Scotland, and Ireland, who celebrated the festival of Samhain. Among other activities, the original celebrants of Samhain would dress in costumes or disguises and go door-to-door receiving gifts of food, much like how today’s children dress up and receive treats!
Another Halloween tradition, albeit quite modern, is the yearly airing of the Simpsons Halloween special – the Treehouse of Horror episodes. This modern tradition began on the 25th of October 1990 and has aired every year since. The episodes all follow the theme of horror, in line with the many other activities that are celebrated during the Halloween period.
October has two strikingly different birth flowers, the pastel-hued cosmos, and the radiant marigold flowers. The cosmos flower is representative of the joy one finds in peace and love, as well as representing peace. The marigold, otherwise known as the calendula, is said to be a symbol of tranquility, grace, and grief.
There is an amazingly varied number of holidays and observances celebrated throughout the world in October. Some of which stand out the most are World Vegetarian day on the 1st of October, World Animal Day on the 4th of October, World Food Day on the 16th of October, and International Animation Day on the 28th of October.
Some of the wackier holidays that are celebrated in the US deserved their own listing, and we’re sure you’ll agree! On the 4th of October is National Noodle Day, on the 16th is National Fossil Day, Sweetest Day is on the 17th and Boss’s Day is celebrated on the 19th.
Those born in October can be born under one of two very different star signs. If you’re born before the 23rd of October, then you have the sign of Libra. Those born on the 23rd of October or later have the sign of Scorpio. Libras are said to value harmony and diplomacy and are said to be both intelligent and kind. Scorpios are quite different, valuing trust and honesty above other things, as well as being quite intense yet imaginative people.
If you live in the UK and love McDonald’s, then here’s one for you. The very first McDonald’s restaurant in the UK opened its doors on the 1st of October 1974. The restaurant is still operational today and is located in Woolwich, in the south of London.
As you can see, October is a pretty fantastic time of the year.
No matter where you are in the world, the weather is just simply wonderful, with nature putting on a full display for all who step outdoors.
For a lot of people, the month of October drags on until Halloween and all the celebrations that come with it, and then it’s over way too quickly!